Income tax? Blame Old Boney

October 31, 2018 - The Chairman

Income Tax was the first tax in British history to be levied directly on people’s earnings. It was introduced in 1799 by the then Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger, as a temporary measure to cover the cost of the Napoleonic Wars. Today, it remains a temporary tax, which expires on April 5 each year, […]

London Zoo and the Great Duke

October 22, 2018 - The Chairman

Who would have guessed that the Duke of Wellington was one of the founders of London Zoo? Before 1828 exotic animals taken into captivity at the height of the British Empire were placed within the  Windsor Great Park and at Tower of London, a bizarre location for wild animals!  Not only were these establishments expensive […]

Inside George IV’s restored Brighton Saloon

October 15, 2018 - Richard Moss

One of the most opulent interiors from the Regency, the Prince Regent’s Saloon at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton opened in September after a major restoration that returned it to its full glory When George IV originally commissioned Robert Jones to create a radiant principal reception room for the Royal Pavilion in Brighton he wanted […]

Shadow from the past

October 14, 2018 - The Chairman

I was at the Royal Military Academy last week and saw once again the statue of The Prince Imperial.  I was with several other people and I was asked why are there  Napoleonic Eagles at Sandhurst?  It is a sad but fascinating story.  Louis Napoleon was the only son of Napoleon III and when in […]

La Garde Recule!

October 5, 2018 - The Chairman

Had a fascinating day with Andrew Field last Saturday at the Regular Commissions Board establishment in Westbury. The five hour study day was entirely focussed on the Imperial Guard and how it was deployed and fought at Waterloo. The subject is not as simple as some believe. What is certain is that nothing can be […]

Napoleonic coffin relic for sale

September 28, 2018 - The Chairman

This remarkable object has come up for sale and although beyond our pockets is an interesting item. A relic of the exhumation and return of Napoleon I’s mortal remains from St. Helena to France in 1840. It comprises a piece of mahogany from the outer coffin in which the Emperor was interred in 1821, applied with a […]

Brooke – A family of soldiers

September 24, 2018 - The Chairman

On a recent visit to Northern Ireland we found ourselves in County Fermanagh and in particular Colebrooke Park where stands Aghalurcher Parish Church. Within were two interesting memorials. One is to the memory of Francis Brooke, aged 22, of the 1st Dragoon Guards who was killed in the charge at Waterloo.   Another plaque in the […]

Order of the Golden Fleece

September 18, 2018 - The Chairman

At the weekend I handled part of the regalia of an existing Knight of The Golden Fleece. I was interested as the Great Duke was often painted  more often than not wearing the Order at his neck.  But I learnt that it is quite complicated as there are two orders an older and original order from […]

Wellington’s Irish family home

September 13, 2018 - The Chairman

During my recent visit to the Emerald Isle I visited the ruins of Dangan Castle, which was the home of Wellington as a boy and young man. In the early fifteenth century Dangan passed by marriage to Sir Richard de Wellesley, who had been sheriff of Kildare.  The Wellesleys became Protestants after 1640 and increased […]

Extraordinary private Napoleonic collection revealed

September 10, 2018 - The Chairman

A unique collection of Napoleonic items is going on show in Paris this week.  Just 20 items including this beautiful glass are to be displayed at a special exhibition at the 3oth edition of the La Biennale Paris.  Its where spectacular items of all sorts of art are purchased. It is “the storehouse of European […]